Balloon stunt for new game leaves THQ red faced

Opinion

Balloon stunt for new game leaves THQ red faced

More from the inexhaustible supply of idiotic publicity stunts by IT companies: game developer THQ has landed in hot water  San Francisco Bay water with a harebrained stunt to promote its latest masterwork. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, THQ decided it would be a good idea to release 10,000 red balloons into the sky above the city, copying a method used by South Korea to send messages of hope to North Korea.

The stunt was designed to draw attention to the new game's utterly plausible storyline of the US being invaded by troops from North Korea. Er, let's try that one again. The US is invaded by troops from North Korea! 

I suppose if you're promoting a game based on such a far-out premise the idea of floating 10,000 balloons above San Francisco makes some kind of awful sense. Not to local residents, however, who have complained that most of the balloons ended up in the bay.

To them, the threat of pollution in the bay is probably a little bit more of a concern than the prospect of being invaded by hordes of heavily armed soldiers from North Korea.

THQ says the balloons are biodegradable but as Nena pointed out all those years ago, when it comes to releasing red balloons into the wild, you really only need 99. If 99 red balloons were good enough for Nena, they should have been good enough for THQ. Besides, "10,000 red balloons fall into the San Francisco Bay" doesn't scan so well.

This was first published in March 2011

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